Young Christian Stewart didn't know it at the time, but when he became a sixth-grade student at St. Roch Catholic School, the rest of his life would change in many ways.
"I had been missing something that I didn't know I was missing," said Stewart, who is a product of Roncalli High School and an outstanding senior on the Marian University basketball team.
The sharp-shooting backcourt ace for the Knights (16-4) is having an outstanding year as he recently scored 31 points for a career-collegiate high in a Jan. 18 home win against Mt. Vernon Nazarene. He led the Knights with 23 points Saturday in a 67-54 home win against Taylor University and ranks 10th among MU's All-time scorers.
Stewart has a string of five 20-plus point games since early Jan. 11.
Earlier Saturday, he talked about his background as a student-athlete, but, most importantly, the impact of Catholicism which he was introduced to in the sixth grade. He had attended public schools in Decatur Township through the fifth grade.
"St. Roch's was the first instance of dealing with religion in my life," Stewart recalled. "Academically it was a struggle, but I learned about faith there. I definitely began a different transition in how to go about things. It all seemed genuine. After that at Roncalli, I just tired to surround myself with people who had my best interest."
As Stewart continued with the Rebels (now Royals), he continued their hardwood legacy of four more winning seasons (57-44, all games). He shared the backcourt with Jimmy King as a sophomore, then averaged 18.8 points as a junior with a high-game of 36 points. Battling injury, he played in 13 games his senior year (15.6 points).
Stewart said his four years at Roncalli with small classes and devoted teachers helped lead him to the success academically and in the way he approaches life today. He is a member of the Class of 2017.
Considering Marian University, Stewart realized that the Knights utilized an offense with coach Scott Healy that had similarities to the spread-motion offense that coach Michael Wantz used at Roncalli.
"I had always been a scorer, but I have become a better defensive player," Stewart said. "Here (Marian), they have worked with me on my leadership and communication skills, on and off the court. And that has helped me and also has made the team better as a whole."
Stewart is a business management major and expects to enter the business world after graduation. Also, he still wants to be involved with the sport, perhaps as a coach.
His parents are Natasha and Jeff and he has two sisters, Hannah and Avery, and one brother, Brady.